The Yılanlı Group is a selection of chapels in Göreme that are studied together because scholars have noted similarities in the style and mediocre quality of their painted decoration, leading them to believe the decoration was made by a common workshop. Jerphanion identified the group, which was named after Yılanlı Kilise (Göreme Chapel 28).* Saklı Kilise (The Hidden Church), which was discovered after Jerphanion’s publication of the other chapels, is now often considered an example of the group (Cooper and Decker 132-133).  The carving of the chapels and their painted decoration are usually dated to the second half of the 11th century (c. 1050-1099), (Epstein, “Rock-Cut Chapels” 120).

Many of the chapels are decorated with red painting. Additional polychrome painting tends to be in icon-like panels rather than ongoing murals and often depicts saints or formal compositions such as the Deësis (Christ with the Virgin and John the Baptist) rather than narrative scenes (Cooper and Decker 133).

Churches in the Yılanlı Group
Saklı Kilise (The Hidden Church)
Göreme Chapel 10
Göreme Chapel 11a
Göreme Chapel 17
Göreme Chapel 17a
Göreme Chapel 18
Göreme Chapel 20 (Saint Barbara)
Göreme Chapel 21
Göreme Chapel 22a
Göreme Chapel 27 Göreme
Göreme Chapel 28 (Yılanlı Kilise, The Church of Snakes)

Saklı Kilise (The Hidden Church), Göreme Chapel 10, and Göreme Chapel 11a are located outside Göreme park, and Saklı Kilise is usually closed to visitors. However most of the other chapels in the group are within Göreme Open Air Museum and open to visitors.

*Göreme Chapel 28 (Yılanlı Kilise) should not be confused with Yılanlı  Kilise in the Soğanlı Valley or Yılanlı  Kilise in the Ihlara Valley.



Cooper, J. Eric, and Michael J. Decker. Life and Society in Byzantine Cappadocia. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

Epstein, Ann Wharton. “Rock-Cut Chapels in Göreme Valley, Cappadocia: The Yılanlı Group and the Column Churches.” Cahiers Archéologiques 24 (1975): 115–135.

———. “The Fresco Decoration of the Column Churches, Göreme Valley, Cappadocia: a Consideration of Their Chronology and Their Models.” Cahiers Archéologiques 29 (1981 1980): 27–45.

Jerphanion, Guillaume de. Une Nouvelle Province De L’art: Les Eglises Rupestres De Cappadoce. 7 vols. Paris: P. Geuthner, 1925.

Rodley, Lyn. Cave Monasteries of Byzantine Cappadocia. Orig. pub. 1985. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Wharton, Annabel Jane. Art of Empire: Painting and Architecture of the Byzantine Periphery: A Comparative Sudy of Four Provinces. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1988.

Suggested citation for this page
McMichael, A.L. “The Yılanlı Group.” Documenting Cappadocia. (date accessed).